Mad Max: Fury Road is a loud, aggressive, nonstop joyride of guns and grease. I loved every minute of it. I thought those terrible Fast and the Furious movies had claimed the title of most macho franchise, but Fury Road reminds us who took on Toecutter and saved the Feral Kid. And while George Miller’s latest addition to the franchise keeps with Max’s ruthless desert dystopia, it stands above the rest — thanks to one badass woman.
Some very proud straight guys have complained about the film, claiming it’s a cleverly-disguised feminist propaganda piece, but nobody cares about them. And yes, it is.
Max tends to get involved in other people’s conflicts and this one keeps with that tradition. This time, his mission is to help Furiosa — a one-armed warrior played with uncompromising toughness by Charlize Theron — save a group of young women from systematic rape by a psycho overlord named Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne — welcome back). When Immortan Joe storms their prison chamber — now empty — a message has been left on the wall: “Our babies will not be warlords.”
Furiosa takes over from there. Tom Hardy’s crazier, gruffish, more taciturn Max is a dashing, sexy sidekick. The low-key dom-sub dynamic between the two of them gets a little literal — at one point he’s leashed and muzzled and she’s tugging on his chain. The whole movie is one giant chase scene with tense moments of stillness and breathtaking cinematography mixed in to break it up. If you’re prone to headaches from loud movies, bring some Advil.
Fucking with gender stereotypes and omitting a sex scene entirely (or rape scene, which tend to feature in the Mad Max franchise), Fury Road is a bold and surprisingly feminist power anthem for our weird, dystopian times. We get the explosions and steampunk camp we need with the sleek social commentary we need more — and it’s fun.
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